Summer Debt Diet
Page 2 of 2

with a friend, treat your neighbor and her kids to ice cream, learn your mom’s cobbler recipe by making it together, and sit on the porch with your partner, watching shooting stars against the clear, dark night. What you pay out for these activities will be minimal—but the return is priceless.

9 Live and Learn at the Library:
It’s air-conditioned, well-lit and has computers at your disposal, so the more you hang out there, the less you’ll waste power at home. Plus, it’s quiet and you can hear yourself think—ideal for studying up on financial independence. Libraries regularly run financial literacy seminars—check your branch or sign up to receive the events calendar. Hit the Web to peruse viable financial planning sites, such as Mint.com. Books-wise, check out Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom by Lynnette Khalfani-Cox; The Black Woman’s Guide to Financial Independence by Cheryl Broussard; Girl, Get Your Money Straight by Glenda Bridgforth; I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi; and Ernst & Young’s Personal Financial Planning Guide. Before you leave, borrow DVDs, CDs and a juicy beach read to keep yourself entertained for free.

10 Reduce Your Debt
“Summer has spending traps, like vacations and expensive entertainment, that can get you deeper in debt,” says Kahan. “But it’s also a time when people have more leisure, so [it’s] a good opportunity to examine your situation and figure out solutions to help reduce debt.” For instance, .consider consolidating or transferring payments to a card with a lower.
.interest rate. “Just read the fine print carefully,” Kahan warns. “There may be additional fees to transfer or other interest rate charges.

Another debt-reduction tactic is called—ironically, this season—the snowflake method, which involves chipping away with micropayments. Whenever you get extra cash (from, say, your summer side hustle or yard sale), immediately put it toward your debt. Even a few dollars here and there help, the same way tiny snowflakes build up, and the process ensures that extra money isn’t wasted.